Alternative ways to learn outside the college classroom

Do you dream about establishing yourself in a lucrative career, but find yourself dreading the cost of having to finance your post-secondary education?

With Thomas Rollins Teaching that there are alternate ways to learn valuable skills outside college, there is hope for learners that want to better themselves without taking on a crippling debt load.

This post will profile various ways people have given themselves the knowledge to succeed without having to pay massive tuition fees to universities.

1) Coursera/EdX

If you are not totally turned off by the idea of traditional colleges and universities (just the cost involved with attending classes), then there are websites out there that offer the ability to take courses offered by these schools.

There are two that stand out in today’s marketplace: Coursera and EdX. With schools such as MIT, Stanford, and other reputable institutions offering courses in areas such as user experience, artificial intelligence, and business management, self-starters have much to gain by signing up for an account on these sites.

2) Codeacademy

Of all the economic sectors that are crying out for talent, the tech industry are among the loudest in their pleas for skilled programmers.

Despite a demonstrated demand for coders, most of the college students that have graduated in the past decade have focused their attention on getting degrees in business, the arts, or in disciplines other than computer science.

Despite the highly technical education that students in this program receive, most of the core skills required to be a programmer can be taught in a matter of months through online tutorial sites such as Codecademy.

On these platforms, students can choose from a variety of programming languages that include HTML, PHP, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, Python and other disciplines that modern technologies and software applications run on.

In less than a year, you can build up a portfolio of skills that can earn you a respectable living if you are motivated enough to do the work.

3) Udemy

While there are sites that specifically focus on certain careers, other sites such as Udemy offer a wide slate of courses in areas ranging from graphic design to marketing.

While many of these programs will come at a cost to the purchaser, the ones that are critically acclaimed by past students have the potential to advance your career aspirations significantly.

Contrasted against tuition fees that can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per year, many of the courses on Udemy offer a great deal of bang for your education dollar.

4) Start a business

Taking courses through online and real-world providers will only get you so far in the game of life. Many will learn a great deal simply by making the choice to work for themselves. These days, starting a business has never been easier, as the barrier to entry has become extraordinarily cheap.

For tens of dollars per month, you can buy a domain name and hosting space for your online business.
From there, you can conceivably do the rest of the work yourself without having to spend an extra dollar on anything else.

Along the way, however, you will learn valuable lessons such as the need to bring people in to do things that you aren’t good at, which marketing strategies work and which ones are ineffective, the importance of networking with others in your space, and so on.

Similar lessons can be learned if you start up a brick-and-mortar business, but the setup costs there are significantly more expensive than what is involved in starting up an online company.

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